Notes from Across the Pond: Focus on Financial Inclusion as Inclusiv Members Visit the UK 

Notes from Across the Pond:
Focus on Financial Inclusion as Inclusiv Members Visit the UK

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of attending ABCUL's Annual Conference in Manchester with Inclusiv members Gregg Brown, CEO of South Side Community CU; Claudia Fernandez, Loan & Marketing Officer at Brooklyn Cooperative FCU; Hank Hubbard, CEO of One Detroit CU and delegation leader; Vanessa Kuduk, AVP of Lending & Hispanic Outreach at Members CU; and Pearl Wicks, COO of Hope CU, who was a keynote speaker at the event.

Our attendance at the ABCUL conference, and ABCUL's participation in the Inclusiv Conference, is an exchange made possible through support from Citi Community Development.

Find Pearl's presentation on financial inclusion in the persistent poverty counties Hope serves here.

Credit unions in the UK serve primarily low- and moderate-income members, so ABCUL, the main trade association for the 303 credit unions in England, Scotland and Wales, is closely aligned with Inclusiv's mission of financial inclusion. Learn more about ABCUL, the Association of British Credit Union's Limited, here.

Our group received a warm welcome at site visits to Leeds Credit Union and Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Unions. At HEYCU, the branch window reflects the credit union's vision mission to provide consumers with a "fairer alternative". The visits reminded us of the strong bond across the cooperative finance movement and the important role credit unions play in providing financial access to all.

In a keynote address, John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, pledged support for UK credit unions and the 2 million members they serve. Last year the UK government pledged £55 million in funding for financial inclusion through Fair4AllFinance.

Pearl was invited to speak about financial inclusion efforts in the U.S. with Guy Opperman MP, the Minister for Pensions & Financial Inclusion, pictured here at far left. Also at the meeting were Robert Kelly, ABCUL CEO, standing next to Pearl, along with Martin King and Russell Galley with Lloyds Banking Group.

Vanessa and Gregg, pictured below, presented at the newly launched Young Professionals Network. Vanessa works with young immigrants looking to build a better life at Members, a Juntos Avanzamos credit union located in Cos Cob, CT. Gregg spoke about the many classes open to the public on everything from credit basics to workshops promoting entrepreneurship run by South Side Community in Chicago.

Great people, wonderful sessions and site visits, and good fun made for a really special trip to Manchester. Opportunities for colleagues to become friends were many. Pictured below from left are myself, Claudia, Ian Brewer, Financial Inclusion Officer at Bradford District CU, Vanessa, Gregg, Pearl, Rachel Barber, Head of Community Development for Citi in the UK, and Hank.

Many thanks to Robert Kelly and Matt Bland and the rest of the ABCUL team from all of us in the delegation and at Inclusiv! We look forward to seeing the ABCUL team at the Inclusiv Conferencein LA this September!

Clarissa Ritter
VP, Marketing and Communications

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